CHARLESTON, W.Va. — After rain cost West Virginia a Big 12 home game, the Mountaineers made sure the weekend was a winner nonetheless.
Sean Carley went wire-to-wire for a five-hitter, while Ryan McBroom and Jacob Rice smacked back-to-back homers as West Virginia beat Baylor 4-1 to sweep a series shortened to two games.
The Mountaineers (15-8, 2-0) left Appalachian Power Park on Sunday as the only unbeaten team in Big 12 play, though the rest of the league has competed two series.
“(Playing three games this weekend) would be nice the way we’re playing right now, but we’ll take 2-0 and be plenty happy with it,” WVU coach Randy Mazey said.
In throwing 120 pitches, Carley (5-0) fanned only two batters, but induced 19 infield outs. He walked one batter, hit two others and limited Baylor (13-13, 2-3) to five singles. One of those hits—off the bat of Adam Toth in the third—squared the game at 1-all.
The Bears managed hits in the sixth and eighth, both of which were erased by double plays. Carley faced only five three-ball counts on the afternoon, affording him the energy to finish off a three-up, three-down ninth.
“We train our guys to throw 125 to 130 pitches—that’s about normal for a complete game in this league, “Mazey said. “He got a little bit tired there at the end, but that’s good for him to get to that many pitches. That will help him later in the year.”
Carley’s outing also saved Mazey from activating a bullpen that surrendered a five-run ninth-inning lead in Friday’s 8-7 victory.
Baylor’s Austin Stone (3-2) had a solid start working himself until walking Bobby Boyd in the sixth. One out later, McBroom hit his team-leading sixth home run to straightaway center and WVU led 3-1.
Rice followed with a solo shot to left field fence, his first home run of the season.
“I’ve told these guys that the home run is my favorite play, and I think they’re finally starting to listen,” Mazey said. “With McBroom, what a presence in the middle of the lineup. I get guilty every time he steps in the box of of hoping he’s going to hit one. Fortunately, he got a hold of one with the wind blowing out.
“And It was good to see Jake Rice put a charge into one. That will give him some much-needed confidence going into the second half of the season.”
WVU hadn’t hit back-to-back homers since beating Oklahoma State in last season’s Big 12 tournament, when McBroom and Brady Wilson pulled the feat.
Baylor, which entered the weekend ranked No. 29 in the Collegiate Baseball poll, had a string of four winning series snapped.
“That (sixth inning) was the whole difference,” said Bears coach Steve Smith. “They have some physical guys in the middle of the order and they were aggressive from the start.
“We really didn’t hit the ball hard but Austin kept us in the game and gave us a chance.”
West Virginia faces a midweek game at Pitt on Tuesday before visiting TCU for a three-game set starting Friday.